Switzerland’s tourism industry is likely to receive more government subsidies than initially planned over the next four years.
In line with the Senate, the House of Representatives on Wednesday agreed to allocate CHF230 million ($230 million) to the agency responsible for promoting tourismexternal link in the country.
However, the government had wanted to spend only CHF220.5 million.
Economics Minister Guy Parmelin argued that the government had already increased the regular contribution from the current four-year period and that additionally, the industry was benefiting from special programmes and financial incentives, including a reduced rate of value-added tax (VAT).
The tourism industry contributes about 2.9% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and employs around 175,500 people, according to official data.
Parliament also agreed to increase to CHF30 million payments to an agency promoting innovation, cooperation and research in the field of tourism. The government had initially earmarked about CHF23 million over the next four years.
The parliamentary approval came during an ongoing debate about a package of promotion measures for Swiss industry, including a boost for the export sector.
Opponents warned against increasing government spending, while supporters argued that small and medium-sized companies in particular suffered from uncertainties over the global economy and the strong Swiss franc.
In total, the government wanted to spend just over CHF373 million on subsidies, but the parliamentary chambers have pushed the contributions to CHF390 million.